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24/7 Murderhouse Excerpt

Trapped in a high-tech social media mansion with a fresh corpse, five YouTube narcissists, and at least one murderer in their midst. What better way for aspiring journalist Sandra Chen to begin her career?

She was invited to the 24/7 House by America's most notorious YouTube personality, Jordan Kessler. He wanted her to write a profile piece about him to help rehabilitate his controversial bullying image.

However, on her first night there, he was brutally murdered; stabbed to death in his own bedroom. But not before setting off a state-of-the-art security system that locked down the entire house, trapping Sandra inside with the aforementioned YouTube narcissists, each with a motive for killing Jordan. Now it's up to Sandra to figure out who the murderer is without getting stabbed in the back herself, all while hiding the fact that she, more than anyone, had a reason to want Jordan dead.

24/7 MURDERHOUSE is equal parts funny, mysterious, suspenseful, and action-packed, and there's a feisty little Pomeranian in it named Steak-Knife, if you're into that kind of thing. (Spoiler alert: the dog lives.)

I wake up to a blaring REEK, REEK, REEK, like a car alarm is going off outside my door. My first thought is that it’s some kind of prank. That I’m Jordan’s latest victim in a weeks-long terror campaign for clicks and views.

I quickly sit up, reach for my phone in the dark. It’s 12:41am. I turn on the flashlight and use it to light up the room. No one’s here except for me. Then I aim the light at the bed, at the sheets, under the covers, at my legs. No sign of bed bug activity, nor insect activity otherwise, thank God.


I make fists with my eyes and jump to my feet. Go directly to the door. Hear footsteps right outside. I open it.

“Hey,” comes a whispery voice on my right. There’s a light shining in my eyes from the dark of the hallway, so I shine mine right back. It’s Francesco. He’s wearing checkered pajama pants and a t-shirt. He points his phone away from my face and I do the same.

“What’s going on?” I say.

“It’s the security system. It’s, uhm, going off for some reason.”

“Jordan’s security system?”

“Uh, yeah.”

“As in the state-of-the-art system that locks the whole house down?”

He looks up, down, then back at me. “Is there another one?”

I turn around, shine my light on the window. There’s no light coming in through the cracks in the curtains, and upon closer inspection, there are definitely metal shutters on the other side of the stained glass. I must’ve been too deep in sleep to hear them coming down.

As I’m turning back to Francesco, I hear a knock-knock-knock leftward down the hall, barely audible over the REEK, REEK, REEK. I poke my head around the corner. There are two more cellphone lights and two distinct voices. 

“Jordan? Are you in there?” 

“C’mon, man, open up.” 

Millie and Axel, respectively.

“If the alarm’s going off,” I say to Francesco, “shouldn’t we just - stay in our rooms and wait for the police to arrive?”

“That’s what I said, but Axel and Millie seem to think it’s an accident or a prank. Which, you know, given Jordan’s track record...”

A door opens across the way and Francesco spins around to shine his light at it. Bianca stumbles out in a short, silky-looking white robe, her eyes all squinty. “What the hell is that godforsaken noise?” She’s rubbing her temples like she has a headache. Or a hangover.

“It’s Jordan’s security system,” Francesco says.

Bianca rolls her eyes. “Of course it is.”

I look down the hall to the right. Ronald is the only member of the house still inside his room - or somewhere else entirely.


We make our way toward Jordan’s room - Francesco first, then Bianca, then myself pulling up the rear. Axel is pounding his fist on Jordan’s door. 

“Let’s go, man!” he shouts. “Open the door already or I’ll open it myself!”

“Does that mean it’s locked?” I say.

Axel nods his head.

“Maybe he’s out?” Millie says. “He could be at a bar for all we know.”

Bianca says: “Or he could just be sleeping. He’s a pretty heavy-sleeper, in my experience.”

Millie screws up her face. She’s probably thinking what I am: unless Jordan is recreationally injecting horse tranquilizers, there’s no way he’s sleeping through this.

“All right,” Axel shouts through the door, “one last warning and then I’m coming in!”

He waits a beat, then another, and then one more. Then he plants his feet, takes a breath, and thrusts his body up against the door, shoulder-first. The door barely budges. So Axel backs up to the wall, just a few feet away from his own room, crouching down slightly like a football lineman. He takes several deep breaths then charges again, harder and faster this time. When his shoulder makes contact, there’s a sharp CRACKING sound as the knob rips through the frame and the door swings inward.

For a moment or two, there’s just the blaring REEK, REEK, REEK.

“Jordan?” Axel says. “You in there?”

No response. No movement inside the room.

“Okay, well...let’s see if we can turn this thing off then.”

“I’ll get the light,” Francesco says.

All four of us enter the room - Axel, Millie, Bianca, Francesco, myself, in that order. The lights of our phones only shine so far, and they don’t, unfortunately, reach Jordan’s bed.

“I told you,” Millie says, “he’s probably at a bar.”

I’m halfway across the floor when I realize my socks feel slightly damp. I point my flashlight down and see small dark smears on the hardwood floor. 

The lights in the room come on all at once. I look up and gasp. Couldn't stop myself if I tried.

The scene before us looks like something out of a slasher horror movie.

I hear Axel whisper: “Jesus Christ...”

Bianca screams and begins to cry.

There’s blood everywhere. Pints of it. Gallons. In the bed. On the floor. Splatter and spray and handprints and more.

There’s also a trail of the stuff leading toward the desk by the window. Slumped over onto the desk is Jordan himself, his right hand reaching out to the blood-smeared security panel on the wall. His naked, muscular back is riddled with stab wounds, with another on the right side of his head. Makes his strawberry-blond locks look even more like strawberry.

My heart is thumping wildly. My breathing is out of control.

Axel rushes over to his friend, as does Bianca, now sobbing between screams. Millie stays right where she is, her trembling hand just barely touching her quivering bottom lip.

“It’s a prank, right?” Francesco says behind us. “It’s a - it has to be a prank.”

Bianca, still sobbing, throws her arms around Jordan’s limp body while Axel checks his neck for a pulse. A few seconds later, he turns around and slowly shakes his head.

“He's - he's dead,” Axel says.

In other words, not sleeping. Not pulling a prank. Deceased. Murdered

My heart is hammering away at my chest. I can barely hear anything over the blood pulsing in my ears. I'm confused and shocked and downright terrified. 

But more than anything, I'm pissed off. Because whoever did this just completely ruined my plan.


Copyright BAM 2011